Montreal man upset after police officer allegedly refused to speak English

Click to play video: 'Montrealer says police refused to serve him in English' Montrealer says police refused to serve him in English
Wed, Jun 13: A Montreal man says he's shocked after a police officer refused to speak to him in English. As Global's Cora MacDonald reports, the man says he's speaking out about the matter because he hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else – Jun 13, 2018

A resident in Rivière-des-Prairies is shocked after he says a police officer at station 45 on Maurice-Duplessis Boulevard would not respond to his questions in English.

Robert Lemieux said he was trying to figure out what to do about an issue involving a neighbour when he called the station in the first place.

“I basically called to find out how to file a harassment complaint,” said Lemieux.

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Lemieux said he wasn’t expecting to be met with such hostility.

“I asked [the police officer] if she could repeat herself in English and to which she answered ‘no.’ So, I went ‘okay — do you have any officer there who could basically tell me what you just told said but in English?’ And, she said ‘no.'”
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Lemieux told Global News that the officer then told him he should find another station where they would speak to him in English and then allegedly hung up on him.

READ MORE: Quebec adopts new regulation to improve access to healthcare in English

“The way she was answering, she understood exactly what I was saying in English,” he said.

After the conversation ended, Lemieux said he put in a call to 911.

According to Lemieux, the operator there took note of what happened. A desk sergeant from the same station as the officer Lemieux spoke to then called him back.

“The sergeant took a report of exactly what happened — and told me that that report would make its way to the station commander to take appropriate action,” he said.

“I asked them to let me know what happens — so, I know if I have to file an official complaint.”

It has been a week since that phone call and Lemieux said he hasn’t heard back yet.

Montreal police aware of issue

A Montreal police spokesperson issued a statement, saying they are aware of the incident.

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“When a citizen is anglophone and expresses his need to be served in English, we refer him to a fully bilingual police officer. it is a practice carried out in all neighborhood stations.”

Montreal police say if someone wishes to file a formal complaint against them they should do so on their website.

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